Left QuoteFor me, Folk Art is a manifestation of my interests...wine, the French language, food, travel, the blues, nature, New Orleans...and my love of incorporating found objects.Right Quot


Jill Brownley is a visual artist and writer, and has been painting for more than 25 years. Born in 1969, she grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received her degree in visual communications and illustration from the Pittsburgh Art Institute. She currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

Contemporary folk artists like myself—also called outsider artists—are technically self-taught artists without formal training. I have been painting for as long as I can remember, so while I consider my talent and artistic creativity to be self-taught, they were refined and polished with formal training. And while it can be argued that formal art training drains the power and soul of the artist, an education does not limit one’s imagination, but allows for a sharper perspective on the world.

Folk Art is characterized by a naive style in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective don’t apply. For those who dare to look beyond the surface, Folk Art offers interesting and very personal views of what is important to the artist. The urge to create art for me is irrepressible...I see ideas and inspirations everyday, everywhere, in ordinary situations and in found objects strewn to the roadside or rellegated to a junk pile. This raw charm and unconventional style is exactly what makes Southern Folk Art so interesting to me. And the most liberating aspect of it all...I would still create Folk Art paintings on tin, old wood, cardboard, window frames, or whatever, whether a market existed for it or not. It’s really just a bonus when others like it as well.

The origins of Folk Art are undeniably African, motivated by the experiences of slaves forced to live and adapt in a foreign culture, and distinguished by the limited materials and tools available. In today’s modern world, Folk Art is by no means restricted to regional groups or rural arts. There are various Folk Art manifestations...for me, Folk Art is an expression of who I am and an outlet for my passions, musical preferences, wine, food, the blues, New Orleans, my love of incorporating found objects, and other interests. Folk art offers an opportunity to walk in the shoes of others...to see depicted the artist’s beliefs, heritage, struggles, or passions.


MBA in International Business
Point Park University
Pittsburgh, PA

BA in Applied Corporate Communications
Point Park University
Pittsburgh, PA

Associate Degree in Visual Communications
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

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